Social media effort highlights alternatives to prison expansion
December 26, 2013
Philadelphia, PA -- People all over Pennsylvania believe there are literally hundreds of better ways to invest state resources than spending money to build new prisons. That’s what the grassroots coalition Decarcerate PA hopes to demonstrate through their “100 Days Instead of Prisons” social media campaign. The campaign calls on legislators to cancel the $400 million prison construction underway in Montgomery County and make 2014 a year of no new prisons in Pennsylvania.
Mechanicsburg, PA - State leaders responsible for Pennsylvania’s surging prison expansion costs are meeting with growing resistance. About twenty protesters appeared unannounced at the Department of Corrections headquarters in Mechanicsburg today with a gigantic orange electrical plug. Members of Decarcerate PA, a grassroots coalition working to end mass incarceration in Pennsylvania, called for an immediate halt to the $400 million prison construction project in Montgomery County, saying it was time for Corrections Secretary John Wetzel to “pull the plug” on this expensive plan.
July 2, 2013 For Immediate ReleaseAttention: News Desk
Harrisburg, PA – Despite statewide opposition, on Sunday, June 30, the Pennsylvania General Assembly approved a budget for FY2013-2014 that provides a $75 million budget increase for the Department of Corrections (DOC). Despite massive protests and hundreds of calls, postcards, and emails from constituents in districts across Pennsylvania, legislators inexplicably gave the state prison system an even larger budget increase than Governor Corbett initially requested.
This expansive increase flies in the face of efforts by grassroots groups like Decarcerate PA, who recently marched from Philadelphia to Harrisburg to demand that the legislature vote no on an increased prison budget, cancel ongoing prison expansion projects, and invest in creating strong communities instead.
On Sunday, June 2nd, about two dozen opponents of prison expansion will arrive in Harrisburg as part of their ten-day march from Philadelphia to Harrisburg. The march is being organized by Decarcerate PA, a grassroots coalition, and is co-sponsored by a broad alliance of community groups, nonprofits, labor organizations, education advocates, and formerly incarcerated organizers. The “March for a People’s Budget: Stop Prison Expansion Now!” began on May 25th.
Philadelphia, PA –Decarcerate PA and a diverse coalition of supporting organizations announced today that they will march over a hundred miles from Philadelphia to Harrisburg to demand a budget that invests in Pennsylvania’s communities and not in unnecessary, unwanted prison construction. In order to emphasize their call for smarter funding priorities, speakers “broke ground” on a better Pennsylvania.
“It’s outrageous that over $400 million is being poured into building new prisons while twenty-three schools in Philadelphia are being closed due to budget cuts. Legislators and Governor Corbett are hurting students across the state with these broken funding priorities” said Azeem Hill of the Philadelphia Student Union.
Schwenksville, PA – On Wednesday, April 10th, seven members of the grassroots campaign Decarcerate PA will go to court to face criminal charges for their participation in a civil disobedience at the construction site of two new prisons being built in Montgomery County. This protest was the first ever act of civil disobedience to block prison construction in Pennsylvania.
Early in the morning on November 19, seven protestors blocked the construction access road with school desks, notebooks, a “little red schoolhouse,” and their own bodies, halting construction of the $400 million prison expansion project for over an hour. The schoolhouse imagery highlighted the disparity between the governor’s decision to continue spending $685 million on prison construction statewide while slashing funding for education by over a billion dollars.